• Germany's news in English

6 German gifts to bring home for the holidays

The Local · 9 Dec 2015, 18:08

Published: 09 Dec 2015 18:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2015 18:08 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

1. Christmastime liquor

Glühwein. Photo: DPA.

Germans have a variety of types of alcohol that aren't beer, a great many of which are consumed mainly around Christmastime. Glühwein and Eierpunsch are good choices, but stores also offer a near endless selection of schnapps flavours - peppermint, pear, walnut, vanilla, elderberry and many more.

As long as you're checking your suitcase, a healthy wrapping of bubble wrap - Luftpolsterfolie in German - should secure it. And if you're doing carry-on...

2. Christmas pyramids

Photo: DPA / Richard Huber under Wikimedia Commons.

They spin, They're wooden. They're super German. What's not to love?
Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden) are the perfect gift if you're looking for something that says "I bought this straight out of German household from the 1800s".
Pyramids range in size from small to larger than life and often have candle-holders built in to keep them turning thanks to the hot air.
3. Baked goods
Baumkuchen at a confectionery shop in Grammentin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: DPA.
Germans love their holiday treats. Last year they consumed 92,640 tons of spiced, Christmas pastries, and there's no reason to think this year will be much different.
So why not share some of the baked goodness with the folks back home? Lebkuchen is by far the country's favourite, but there are many more. Lots of shops sell Baumkuchen already wrapped up for Christmas. This treat is a round, layered cake, often covered in chocolate.
And you can't go to a German supermarket this time of year without glimpsing multiple packages of Stollen - a cake, often with dried fruit and dusted with powdered sugar.
If you want the most authentic Stollen, you can often find the hand-made ones from Dresden at Christmas markets.
4. Beer and Glühwein mugs
Photo: DPA.
Story continues below…

If you've ever "forgotten" to return your mug for the Pfand deposit at a Christmas market, you may already have a few of these lying around.

Non-Germans go crazy for traditional, alcohol-drinking vessels, so pick out a few that have old-timey designs and hand them out to friends and family. Many souvenir shops sell vintage-looking beer steins with handles and lids, but so do flea markets for a fraction of the price. These make decorative and pragmatic gifts.

5. Grimms' Fairy Tales (in German)

Photo: DPA.

Why not treat kids to the fairy tales they love in their original language? Show off how good your German has become by translating the stories as you go along.

Or try to just read them in the original German. It may actually be better if the kids (and you) have no idea what's going on since the Grimms' recurring and disturbing themes of severed limbs, brutal deaths and child abandonment are probably best left not understood.

6. Nutcrackers

An exhibit of German nutcrackers from the Ore Mountains. Photo: DPA.
While these decorative, shell-cracking soldiers are more commonly associated with the Russian ballet by the same name, they actually are native to Germany.

The design of a wooden nutcracking soldier or king first emerged in Thuringia and in the Ore Mountains of Germany by 1800, according to the Nutcracker Museum in Washington state. And many of the figures collected by Americans today are still produced in Germany.

Of course, the novella on which Pyotr Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet was written by a German author - E.T.A. Hoffmann.

So in a nutshell (sorry) nutcrackers are very authentically German gifts to bring home.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dad who auctioned baby on eBay restricted from seeing child
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd